Paleontologists do not have the highest of profiles. But that could change with the release of Ammonite, the film starring Kate Winslet who plays Mary Anning, the prolific 19th-century fossil-collector and paleontologist whose gender and poverty prevented the full fame she deserved.
Responsible for finding the first ichthyosaur skeleton — still on display in London‘s Natural History Museum — Anning scoured Lyme Regis’s beaches with passion.
Dorset remains a favourite among fossil hunters, but it’s far from being the only coastline to scour. All you need is keen eyesight, plus, ideally, a chisel, hammer and goggles. A Thermos of tea usually helps, too. Here’s our pick of the top spots.
The 96-mile Jurassic Coast, which stretches from Dorset to Devon, is fossil-tastic. One of the best beaches to scour near Lyme Regis is Charmouth, pictured
Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in the new movie Ammonite
Dorset and Devon’s 96-mile Jurassic Coast is fossil-tastic, yet Mary Anning’s pretty old base of Lyme Regis — full of tempting boutiques and cafes — remains its paleontological hub. Below repeatedly-exposed layers of sedimentary cliffs, the best local beaches to scour are East Cliff and Charmouth.
Don’t miss: West of Lyme Regis’s Cobb harbour, Monmouth Beach’s low tide reveals a natural ‘ammonite pavement’ containing huge versions of the molluscs’ coiled shells.
Expert help: Paddy Howe, of Lyme Regis Museum, leads three-hour fossil walks (£125 for groups of up to five, lymeregismuseum.co.uk).
Stay: The Alexandra, on a hill with pretty gardens, has B&B doubles from £180 (hotelalexandra.co.uk).
Presumed dinosaur footprints were recently discovered on Penarth beach, pictured, which is south of Cardiff
Triassic and Jurassic-era fossils from dinosaur teeth to spiny echinoids are commonly spotted among washed-up slabs and stones between Penarth, south of Cardiff, and Porthcawl. No spot yields more 200 million-year-old treasure than Llantwit Major’s rocky cove.
Don’t miss: The Natural History Museum says it is ‘pretty convinced’ about presumed dinosaur footprints recently discovered on Penarth beach.
Expert help: Ranger-led geology walks can be booked through the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Centre (valeofglamorgan.gov.uk).
Stay: A plush but informal and dog-friendly hotel, the West House is in Llantwit Major’s old town with B&B doubles from £85 (townandcountrycollective.co.uk)
Regular fossil hunts operate on the beaches around Scarborough, pictured, which is on North Yorkshire’s Fossil Coast
Ammonites, pictured, are so common, three feature on Whitby’s coat of arms
The designated Fossil Coast stretches about 35 miles from Staithes to Flamborough via Whitby and Scarborough in North Yorkshire.
Premier locations are Port Mulgrave and Robin Hood’s Bay, although their sheer edges and jagged rocks demand agility. Ammonites are so common, three feature on Whitby’s coat of arms.
Don’t miss: Burniston Bay, near Scarborough, has three-toed dino footprints while, farther south, petrified remains of Speeton’s eponymous lobster-like ‘shrimp’ are frequently unearthed.
Expert help: Hidden Horizons operates regular ‘hunts’ on beaches around Scarborough (hiddenhorizons.co.uk).
Stay: Clifftop views over Robin Hood’s Bay await at the grand Victoria Hotel; B&B doubles from £80 (victoriarhb.com).
Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight, pictured, where bones of iguanodons are regularly collected
Fossil-seeking families will enjoy Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight. Bones of iguanodons are regularly collected there: look for jet-black shapes in shingle or rock pools. There are mind-boggling dinosaur footprints, too.
Don’t miss: Dinosaur Isle is an interactive museum in Sandown (dinosaurisle.com).
Expert help: Wight Coast Fossils organise private two-hour outings at locations around the island (£50, wightcoastfossils.co.uk).
Stay: A faux-Victorian guesthouse, Koala Cottage, is in picture-perfect Godshill — an ideal base for touring the South Coast; B&B doubles from £150 (koalacottage.co.uk).
If you head north from Walton-on-the-Naze, pictured, there’s a good chance of uncovering fossils
Head north from the 18th-century Naze Tower lighthouse near Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, to stand a good chance of uncovering shark teeth or pyritised wood.
This coastline averages 6ft of erosion per year — hence the abundance of fossils.
Don’t miss: Walton’s attractions include a quirky Maritime Museum displaying finds (fwheritage.co.uk).
Expert help: Essex Wildlife Trust will run a Family Fossil Discovery morning on Saturday, February 15 (£3, essexwt.org.uk).
Stay: Five miles from Walton, the Lifehouse Hotel & Spa’s hydrotherapy pool will rejuvenate weary backs and knees; B&B doubles from £139 (lifehouse.co.uk).
An Corran Beach on the Isle of Skye, pictured, has the footprints of ornithopods — giant two-legged herbivores from 165 million years ago
The west coast of the Isle of Skye affords extensive Jurassic finds. Ammonites and ichthyosaur parts are common, with salamanders, turtles and crocodiles possible.
Don’t miss: Typically exposed after winter storms on An Corran Beach are the footprints of ornithopods — giant two-legged herbivores from 165 million years ago.
Expert help: Currently closed due to the pandemic, Staffin Dinosaur Museum can arrange tours (staffindinosaurmuseum.com).
Stay: Tenants of cosy Springbank Cottage can borrow fossil-hunting guidebooks, chisels and hammers to tackle the shores near Elgol; Seven nights’ self-catering from £525 (springbankelgol.co.uk).
The coastline of Kent’s Isle of Sheppey, pictured, produces ossified wonders. It is about 90 minutes by train from London Victoria
About 90 minutes by train from London Victoria, the coastline of Kent’s Isle of Sheppey produces ossified wonders — prehistoric lobster, crab and snake fossils plus nipa fruits from mangrove palm trees: a reminder that our landmass was once south of the Equator.
Don’t miss: The stretch between Eastchurch and Warden Point, where colourful sharks’ teeth are particularly common.
Expert help: Fred Clouter’s website has photographs of possible finds (sheppeyfossils.com).
Stay: Beside sleepy Swale Estuary, the 16th-century Ferry House is an acclaimed, sustainable restaurant with stylish B&B doubles from £160 (theferryhouseinn.co.uk).
AMAZING IN ANTRIM
Natural wonder: The singing sands at White Park Bay on the North Antrim coast, where the beach vibrates with a humming noise
Many Jurassic and Triassic fossils materialise along County Antrim’s seaboard. Larne’s Waterloo Bay is the premier place: you’ve good odds of squid-like belemnites and urchins.
Don’t miss: Fifty miles north, and also good for fossiling, White Park Bay is one of the world’s few places to experience ‘singing sand’ — when the beach vibrates with a humming noise.
Expert help: The excellent UK Fossils website has thorough information on Waterloo Bay (ukfossils.co.uk).
Stay: Pet-friendly and recently refurbished, Seaview House serves top-notch breakfasts; B&B doubles from £75 (seaviewlarne.com).
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
We show you how to make sense of the mortgage mayhem
Borrowers are facing mortgage mayhem as banks axe deals and hike rates. Major delays also mean homebuyers are at risk of missing out on generous stamp duty savings.
But don’t despair — here Money Mail explains everything you need to know to navigate the chaos…
WHY IS THE MARKET BOOMING NOW?
A stampede of home movers looking to cash in on the stamp duty holiday is wreaking havoc on the housing market.
Confused?: Borrowers are facing mortgage mayhem as banks axe deals and hike rates
Many are desperate for more space after months of lockdown, and keen to make the most of the tax saving worth up to £15,000.
Demand from buyers was already soaring before the property market was temporarily frozen in March and rocketed again when it reopened in late May. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement in July of no stamp duty on the first £500,000 of purchases completed before March 31, 2021, then threw fuel on the fire.
Last week, official figures revealed house prices had surged in every region in August. But experts warn the rally cannot last now the Government is scaling back financial support for households and businesses.
IS THERE REALLY A HOME LOAN DROUGHT?
August was the busiest month for lenders in 13 years, with firms approving more than 80,000 mortgage applications, according to the Bank of England. In a desperate bid to curb demand, overwhelmed lenders are hiking rates and withdrawing deals so often that brokers can’t keep up.
The number of mortgages available has halved since the start of the year, according to analysts Defaqto.
The clampdown has particularly hurt those with the smallest deposits, as lenders know that if house prices fall they are at most risk of ending up in negative equity (where they owe more than their house is worth). But even those with down payments of 15 or 20 per cent have far less choice than before the pandemic. Many banks have introduced tougher lending rules so that only the most financially secure can get a mortgage.
It means self-employed borrowers, those returning from furlough leave or workers who rely on bonus or overtime income are finding it tougher to get a loan.
Last week the Bank of England warned that all borrowers could soon find it harder to get a mortgage as lenders prepare to raise rates and tighten lending criteria.
WHAT IF I HAVE A SMALL DEPOSIT?
The pandemic sent mortgage lenders offering deals to borrowers with a deposit of 10 per cent or less running for the hills.
Lockdown restrictions stopped surveyors from being able to enter borrowers’ homes and banks were unwilling to offer more risky mortgages without a valuation.
But even when the housing market reopened, not all banks resumed lending to families with small deposits amid fears that rising unemployment could spark a house-price crash.
One of the few remaining lenders accepting applications from borrowers with a 10 per cent deposit, HSBC, was forced to withdraw from the market last month — but said the move was temporary.
TSB, Coventry Building Society and Accord, part of Yorkshire Building Society, run mortgage fire sales where 90 per cent deals are made available for one or two days only.
Currently, only one deal is widely available to these borrowers, compared with 16 in April, according to Defaqto. This is a five-year fixed rate at 3.99 per cent with Metro Bank.
Nationwide is offering a two-year fixed rate of 3.49 per cent, or 3.54 per cent for five years for first-time buyers. But they must prove at least 75 per cent of the deposit has come from their own savings, ruling out deposits gifted entirely by parents.
Regional building societies, including Darlington, Cumberland, Stafford Railway and Buckinghamshire are offering families with local postcodes a 90 per cent mortgage.
IF I MISS THE CUT-OFF I’LL LOSE MY DREAM FLAT
Amy Williams is rushing to buy her first home and save £4,000 before the stamp duty holiday ends in March. She says she will not be able to afford the deal if it is not completed in time.
Amy, 28, had an offer accepted on a one-bedroom flat in Camberwell, South London, in July, but is still waiting to exchange contracts. She hopes to wrap things up by the end of November.
Struggle: Amy Williams is rushing to buy her first home and save £4,000 before the stamp duty holiday ends
Amy adds: ‘I had an offer accepted on the flat at the time the stamp duty holiday was announced. The timing couldn’t have been better.
‘The process has taken much longer than I’d expected but I’m on the precipice of exchanging. We’re waiting on one final piece of legal paperwork and I’m optimistic I’ll get the keys in the coming weeks.
‘But if anything goes awry with the sale now, and if the vendor were to withdraw, I’d be very nervous about being able to find a new property and complete in time to beat the stamp duty deadline.’
And Tipton & Coseley has joined Barclays by offering 100 per cent deals to borrowers whose parents agree to deposit savings or have a mortgage-like charge placed on their own properties. Borrowers with specific professions are also being offered 90 per cent deals.
Teachers Building Society will accept applications from teachers with a 10 per cent deposit, while Reliance Bank will support key workers such as NHS staff, police and postal workers.
TSB is offering first-time buyers with a 15 per cent deposit a more flexible affordability assessment to increase their chances of being approved for the loan. The bank’s five-year fixed rate is 2.99 per cent.
WHERE ARE THE BEST RATES?
Rates have risen for all but those with the biggest deposits since the beginning of March.
Borrowers with a 10 per cent deposit are now facing the highest rates since 2015.
Average two-year fixed rates have risen from 2.57 per cent to 3.76 per cent since the beginning of March, according to Moneyfacts. This means a £150,000 mortgage would cost £2,256 more in interest over two years, excluding fees, than it did at the start of the summer. But for families with a deposit of between 25pc and 35pc, average two-year fixed rates have fallen.
And for those with a 40 per cent deposit, rates remain relatively unchanged at around 1.8 per cent.
Monmouthshire Building Society offers the best two-year fixed rate for borrowers with a 25 per cent deposit, at 1.6 per cent, compared with a best buy of 1.19pc six months ago.
Those who are lucky enough to have a 40 per cent deposit can access Halifax’s top two-year fixed rate of 1.28 per cent and HSBC’s five-year fixed rate at 1.44 per cent.
I COULDN’T GET A LOAN WITH A 10% DEPOSIT
Wait: Laura Sears has still not received her mortgage offer
Laura Sears was hoping to complete on a two-bedroom shared ownership flat last week. But she has still not received her mortgage offer after applying for a five-year fixed deal from Barclays weeks ago.
Laura, 30, who lives in East London, says she has been hit by a plethora of hurdles in her quest to get on the property ladder.
She wanted a two-bedroom flat with a balcony and decent-sized kitchen not too far from her work for around £300,000 using a 10 per cent deposit.
But lenders began withdrawing 95 per cent and 90 per cent deals leaving her unable to buy the property in Hornchurch.
Her only option was to use the Government’s Shared Ownership scheme. She applied for a 25 per cent share of a £330,000 two-bedroom flat in Colindale, North-West London, and says: ‘I am chasing my mortgage broker for updates every two days — but he says there is a massive backlog.
‘I knew things were going to take a while and I was reluctant to tell people I was buying a flat in case I was tempting fate. Luckily the vendor says he is in no rush. Still, I hope to be in by Christmas.’
COULD DELAYS MEAN I’M LIKELY TO MISS OUT?
Experts say delays are so bad up and down the property chain that movers need to apply for a mortgage no later than November to be in with any chance of beating the stamp duty holiday deadline in March.
It takes an average of 160 days to go from agreeing a sale to moving in — up from 95 days last year, according to property data analysts TwentyCi. And as the stamp duty deadline draws closer, experts fear delays could spiral further.
As many staff have been furloughed or are working from home, banks and building societies are now taking weeks rather than days to review mortgage applications. Surveyors and solicitors are also warning of long delays as they struggle to keep up with the buying frenzy. Some legal firms have already stopped taking on new cases. And as solicitors struggle to cope with a 50 per cent rise in transactions, more than 300,000 sales are tipped to miss the deadline. Colin Bradshaw, from TwentyCi, says: ‘Solicitors are trying to deal with nine months’ business in six months.’
WHAT IF I NEED TO REMORTGAGE?
If your current mortgage deal is due to expire in the next two months, start the remortgage process now. Lenders are predicting more than £30billion of deals will be up for renewal at the end of the year, putting even more strain on lenders’ resources.
A standard remortgage takes six weeks to complete, but brokers are warning it could take a further four weeks because of the bottleneck. To avoid falling on to your bank’s costly standard variable rate, which you pay once your mortgage deal ends, brokers are urging those with loans nearing renewal not to delay.
The good news is that remortgage borrowers may find their new rate is largely the same as their old one, or it may even have gone down. According to Moneyfacts, the average two-year fixed rate now is 2.44 per cent.
Compared to average two-year fixes in October 2018, you would be paying 0.05 per cent less. If your five-year fix is about to end, and you want to choose another five-year deal, you are likely to be paying even less.
The average five-year fixed rate in October 2015 was 3.31 per cent compared with 2.69 per cent now.
Lloyds Bank is currently offering the lowest two and five-year fixed rates. At 60 per cent loan to value, they are 1.09 per cent and 1.33 per cent respectively. At 85 per cent, the two-year fixed rate is 1.80 per cent and the five-year is 2.17 per cent. All deals come with a £1,499 fee.
If your circumstances have changed since the start of the pandemic, such as a reduction in your salary or you were placed on furlough leave, another lender may be reluctant to take you on as a new customer. Don’t panic. Your own bank is likely to offer you a new deal and some lenders give their existing borrowers better rates than new customers.
SHOULD I WAIT TO FIX MY RATE?
The Bank of England base rate is already at a record low of 0.1 per cent, but there are whispers it could be cut to zero or below to stimulate spending and lending. But that doesn’t mean mortgage rates will follow — and it’s highly unlikely you would ever be paid for having a loan.
However, if the mortgage market starts to cool early next year, as expected, rates could begin to fall.
Rachel Dixon, mortgage adviser at RH Dixon, said: ‘It has been a crazy few months. As we see demand subside over the coming months, rates will return to more normal levels.’ So it may pay to hold off locking into a fixed-rate deal.
If you opt for a variable-rate deal in the meantime, these tend to have lower or no early repayment charges if you want to switch later.
The cheapest 85 per cent two-year variable rate with no exit penalties is with West Brom BS at 2.34 per cent, compared to Lloyds Bank’s fixed rate at 1.8 per cent.
Both are for remortgage only.
Mortgage rates are still ultra-cheap compared to a decade ago when a typical borrower with a 10 per cent deposit might have paid 6pc as opposed to 3.99 per cent today. So if you can afford the repayments, you may prefer the peace of mind a fixed deal can offer.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
ANDREW PIERCE: How darkly ironic that free school meals were a TORY idea… shot down by the Left
Who dismissed a ground-breaking report on a new initiative to extend free school meals to Britain’s neediest children, saying it was greeted with ‘at best eye-rolling and at worst exasperation’?
Some hard-hearted member of the Tory Party for whom those living in poverty have only themselves to blame?
A diehard critic of the welfare state entirely lacking in compassion?
On the contrary, those words were written by a respected critic on the Left-leaning paper, The Observer. Possibly he was unable to stomach the fact that the author of the report, Henry Dimbleby, happened to be a privileged Old Etonian, Leave campaigner and close friend of senior Tory politicians.
Potentially, it blinded him and other paid-up members of the liberal commentariat to the content.
Henry Dimbleby (above) – a privileged Old Etonian, Leave campaigner and close friend of senior Tory politicians – wrote a ground-breaking report on a new initiative to extend free school meals to Britain’s neediest children
Thankfully, someone who had first-hand experience of childhood hunger took Dimbleby’s report seriously. Step forward football star turned food poverty campaigner, Marcus Rashford (pictured)
Take this other barb, for instance: ‘When you get someone from a rich, privately- educated background to comment on issues they’ve never experienced, then the outcome will always be the same. The UK’s poorest people no longer need blunt, crude and top-down measures to alleviate their suffering. They need a system change to banish the scourge of poverty for good.’
That was the view of the Left-wing website The Canary.
Thankfully, someone who had first-hand experience of childhood hunger did take Dimbleby’s report seriously.
More from Andrew Pierce for the Daily Mail…
Step forward football star turned food poverty campaigner, Marcus Rashford.
Rashford is once again making headlines, with the Government on the back foot over the emotive issue of free meals during the school holidays.
The 22-year-old Manchester United player has succeeded in making Boris Johnson and his party appear utterly indifferent to the plight of needy children this Christmas.
It is a row that is inflicting huge political damage on the Tories nationally — shades again of the ‘nasty’ party — and causing rebellion among backbenchers. And yet it could so easily have been avoided. Indeed, it could have been a positive for ministers if only they had had the wits to exploit an opportunity.
For the free school meals initiative really was Tory made and minted.
What Rashford has been calling for is simply the implementation of the main recommendations of the Government’s National Food Strategy report, commissioned in 2018 by then Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, one Michael Gove. It was published in July.
Gove asked his close friend Dimbleby, the co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, to write the report.
It was a considered choice, since Dimbleby had co-authored the 2013 government-backed School Food Plan, which led to the implementation of free school lunches for all children in reception and Years 1 and 2, and added practical cooking and nutrition to the National Curriculum.
After consulting with industry experts, academics and various government departments, Dimbleby came up with a succinct recommendation for this new report: the Government’s Free School Meal scheme should be extended to every child in a household where their parent or guardian is in receipt of state benefits during term time and in the holidays (by expanding the holiday clubs scheme).
The 22-year-old Manchester United player has succeeded in making Boris Johnson and his party appear utterly indifferent to the plight of needy children this Christmas. (Above, the PM in a cafeteria at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading yesterday)
Sound familiar? Currently, the meals are only available to the poorest children living in households with an income of less than £7,400-a-year. His recommendations would mean that 1.5 million more seven- to 16-year-olds could receive free school meals (taking the total to 2.6 million).
Rashford read Dimbleby’s report and re-tweeted the recommendations to his 3.7 million followers — and so a campaign to provide free meals during the summer was born.
He even contacted Dimbleby to praise him for his work and to seek advice on how to exploit the support he had ignited. The result was a government U-turn, an agreement to extend free school meals into the summer holidays and an MBE for Rashford.
Ever since, ministers have been on the defensive— attacked from all sides for appearing not to care about struggling families whose incomes have been hit by the new tiered Covid restrictions.
Last week, Labour was defeated by the Government in a vote to extend the provision of schools meals in the Christmas holidays.
So why on earth did the PM, Gove and co overlook its own recommendations and allow Rashford to seize the momentum — and, deservedly so, the glory — and to enable the Labour Party to champion the footballer as one of their own.
How ironic that those same critics of the Dimbleby report are hailing Rashford and his school meals policy that is rooted in the former’s recommendations.
Henry Dimbleby could hardly conceal his irritation on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday: ‘I haven’t been backward in coming forward with ideas that I have been feeding into the Treasury, to [the Department for] Education and to No 10, ideas of how they could rapidly implement this by Christmas,’ he said. ‘But . . . the dark centre of government is invisible to me and I have no idea exactly what they’re working on as we speak.’
What Rashford has been calling for is simply the implementation of the main recommendations of the Government’s National Food Strategy report, commissioned in 2018 by then Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, one Michael Gove. It was published in July. Gove asked his close friend Dimbleby, the co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, to write the report
In a withering denunciation of the official government line that needy children can be best helped through Universal Credit alone, he added: ‘This problem [of hunger] is real. It should go without saying that it’s serious. It’s immediate and it’s going to get worse.’
Later, he tweeted, ‘I’ve written a short note explaining why I recommended the three policies that are the focus of Marcus Rashford’s campaign’ and linked a seven-page precis of his National Food Strategy report. The row is the gift that keeps on giving for Labour, with its MPs reporting real ‘cut-through’ with voters in their constituencies.
And it seems that Labour leader Keir Starmer is preparing to embarrass the Government again by forcing a second Commons vote on whether to extend free school meals in the holiday period. While only six Tory MPs voted with Labour last time, the figure is likely to be far higher this time around.
More than 100 Tory MPs have complained that the issue has triggered a series of often unpleasant and violent threats from irate constituents. Many of them are privately seething with Downing Street after they were ordered to vote against the last motion.
At a time when Boris Johnson is at risk of his biggest internal threat — the newly created Northern Research Group of ‘Red Wall’ MPs who are rallying against the economic impact of the imposition of Tier Two and Tier Three restrictions — this fiasco could easily have been avoided if only someone at No 10 had realised what was in the report they had commissioned.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. This is an administration bereft of leadership in many areas, where incompetence is the order of the day and infighting preferable to action.
Cabinet ministers are taking chunks out of each other in an unseemly blame game over how Rashford ‘outsmarted’ them.
On the backbenches the atmosphere is dire, with Tory MPs lashing out. Mansfield MP Ben Bradley did his party few favours by suggesting some of the vouchers for free school meals would end up paying for crack dens and brothels but failed to produce any evidence to back up his claims.
Other Tory MPs argue that with public debt now at £2 trillion and counting, another £150 million for free school meals is surely not too big an ask.
As one senior figure told me: ‘If the Treasury can find £522 million for the Eat Out To Help Out scheme to support restaurants, why can’t it find the £150 million to feed kids to help out?’
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Fury as Rugby School sells treasure trove of classic books
This was the place where Rupert Brooke and Matthew Arnold penned their first verses, and has spawned literary talents such as Alice In Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, Salman Rushdie and Foyle’s War creator Anthony Horowitz.
But Rugby School — setting for Thomas Hughes’s Victorian classic, Tom Brown’s School Days — has appalled alumni and academics alike by announcing that it is to sell off a treasury of nearly 300 books, including four Shakespeare folios, which are estimated to fetch £100,000.
Acclaimed novelist A.N. Wilson, who was at Rugby in the 1960s, is reduced to apoplexy, describing governors at the £37,000-a-year school as ‘complete vandals’.
Rugby School has announced it is to sell off a treasury of nearly 300 books including four Shakespeare folios
‘It’s terrible. I would never dream now of leaving anything to that school because they would just flog it,’ he assures me, pointing out that next month’s auction follows the sale of much of the school’s glorious art collection at Christie’s, which raised nearly £15 million.
His horror is shared by Professor Michael Dobson, director of Birmingham University’s Shakespeare Institute.
‘From being living books, housed in an institution with a strong Shakespearean heritage, in Shakespeare’s home region, they are likely to dwindle now into being mere investments,’ he tells me, pointing out that museum and university library budgets are currently under immense pressure because of the Covid pandemic.
Professor Dobson adds that the Rugby School collection, which includes first editions of such classics as Robinson Crusoe and Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, is now ‘more likely to vanish into private collections than to be consulted by experts’.
Peter Green, Rugby’s head — or Executive Head Master, as he is designated — explains the decision to sell the books by saying that the money raised will help fund ‘bursary support’.
The point is reiterated by a school spokeswoman. ‘Obviously, Rugby is a school, not a museum.
Headmaster of Rugby School Peter Green explains the decision to sell the books by saying that the money raised will help fund ‘bursary support’
The paintings were becoming impossible to look after and insure, and the Governing Body decided then — as they have now about these books — that they should be sold to benefit the current and future students by way of making bursary provision greater.’
Wilson is unconvinced. ‘They say it will be spent on a bursary, but how do you know?’ he asks. ‘Who can you trust?’
Not, evidently, the Royal Opera House, which controversially sold its David Hockney portrait of former chairman Sir David Webster last week for £12.8 million.
‘To sell is to betray a previous generation’s generosity,’ reflects another distraught Old Rugbeian.
It’s full speed ahead for Clarkson’s farm shop
Jeremy Clarkson can embark on a victory lap after seeing off parish councillors trying to thwart his burgeoning business at Diddly Squat Farm in West Oxfordshire.
Earlier this year, the former Top Gear presenter opened a farm shop, Squat Shop, but he soon got snarled up in a spat with Chadlington Parish Council, which accused him of flouting planning regulations and coronavirus guidelines, and causing haphazard parking.
However, permission has now been granted subject to certain restrictions, including a reminder that he can stock only ‘local’ produce.
Motormouth Clarkson, who is worth £50 million, can barely contain his glee.
‘I’d like to thank the council for being so supportive of what’s turning into quite a good little business,’ he tells me.
Emily’s now a 20-week Gone Girl
While many women prefer to cover themselves up when pregnant , actress and model Emily Ratajkowski is determined to keep her full figure on display.
The London-born 29- year-old, who is married to film producer Sebastian Bear-McClard, is 20 weeks pregnant and happily showed off her new bump this week when she stepped out in New York wearing a tight black cut-out dress.
Emily Ratajkowski is 20 weeks pregnant and happily showed off her new bump
The English professor’s daughter, who made her Hollywood debut in Gone Girl playing Ben Af f leck’s clandestine lover, reveals she doesn’t want to know the baby’s gender just yet.
‘We won’t know until our child is 18 and they’ll let us know then,’ she says.
Is Hugh Grant mellowing now he has become a father?
The Love Actually star, 60, who has five children — three by his wife Anna Eberstein — says he missed his family so much when filming his new TV series, The Undoing, in New York that he cried.
He recalls: ‘At first, I thought what a fantastic opportunity to get away from my screaming children. But I missed them so much.
Almost every scene I acted in made me cry. Once, the director Susanne Bier had to say: ‘Hugh, you’re only asking for a cup of coffee.’
There’s a hole in your socks, dear Livia, dear Livia . . .
Oscar winner Colin Firth’s estranged wife Livia — they split last year following her extra-marital affair — appears to be getting a case of cold feet.
The 51-year-old eco-activist, who encourages people to wear the same clothes repeatedly to make fashion more sustainable, yesterday laid bare the pitfalls of exhausting one’s wardrobe when she posted a picture of herself sporting pink socks so ragged they had huge holes in the heels.
Livia posted a picture of herself sporting pink socks so ragged they had huge holes in the heels
‘When they point out that I am too strict about the “beyond 30 wears” rule,’ she captioned it, admitting that her socks are ‘clearly too old’.
Many millionaires bemoan the fate of their offspring, but hedge funder Sir Paul Marshall has revealed he is envious of his son Winston, a founding member of folk rock group Mumford & Sons.
According to Sir Paul, whose wealth is estimated at £630 million, Winston has a ‘much better career than mine.
The speed with which they went on with their first album to getting Brit awards and Grammys was amazing.’
Keef gets his own cameo
Talk about keeping it in the family. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has hired his son-in-law to shoot his music video.
Keef has re-released his 1992 solo song, Hate It When You Leave, and roped in his daughter’s film director husband, Jacques Naude, to help.
Naude, who married model Alexandra, 34, last year, depicts everyday scenes in the video, including a man mowing a lawn, a child learning to play the drums and young girls at cheerleading practice.
Of course, Keef, 76, features, too — sitting outside a house near fresh-cut flowers. ‘It’s something for your ears and eyes and for your hearts,’ says the rocker, giving his approval of Jacques’s work.
Young Getty shows voting is in fashion
Her late great-uncle, oil billionaire Jean Paul Getty II, donated £5 million to the Tories.
Now artist Ivy Getty, who stands to inherit a chunk of her family’s fortune, is hoping to influence American politics with her wacky sense of style.
Artist Ivy Getty is hoping to influence American politics with her wacky sense of style
Ahead of the presidential election next week, the 25-year-old, who lives in San Francisco, posted a picture of herself in a leopard-print crop top and shorts teamed with a colourful bag and black face mask proclaiming ‘VOTE’.
‘I’m voting for Biden,’ she tells me. ‘I wear as much voting-related clothing to remind people to vote and register to do so.’
ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus wants a swift return to full-capacity concerts.
‘We’ve seen pop stars streaming their latest songs live from their kitchen. Let’s agree on one thing — however talented they are, it’s boring. Boring!’ says Ulvaeus.
‘As a former pop star myself, I take the liberty to say that. It will never be a substitute for a packed stadium or a sold-out theatre performance in the West End or on Broadway.’
Cue for an ABBA reunion tour, then?
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
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